There used to be a time when city officials would have a stack of potential applicants to serve on crucial volunteer city boards, but keeping those boards at capacity now has become a more difficult task.
Planning and Community Development Director Catherine Hartley isn’t sure why that trend has taken place, but she said the boards play a crucial role in the city’s overall growth and development.
“The planning commission, in particular, is required by Florida statute, and that’s a board that helps shape the growth and development of the community,” Hartley said. “And then you have our nuisance abatement board, which hasn’t been able to operate since 2008 because the city hasn’t been able to find volunteers.”
Drugs and heroin are huge problems and this is a board that look into those properties being rented to prostitutes, drug dealers and gang members. This is an effective tool in helping shut those things down.
Catherine Hartley, planning and community development director
The nuisance abatement board plays another critical role in the city, Hartley said, because it has the authority to target “public nuisance” properties associated with prostitution, drugs and crime.
“Drugs and heroin are huge problems, and this is a board that looks into those properties being rented to prostitutes, drug dealers and gang members,” she said. “This is an effective tool in helping shut those things down. This board plays an important role in reducing crime and improving the safety and welfare by encouraging property owners to take responsibility to prevent their properties from becoming the site of ongoing nuisance activities.”
Hartley said it is a seven-member board, “and we need to fill all seven seats.”
The city also is looking for at least three more volunteers to serve on the affordable housing advisory committee. Volunteers need experience in at least one of the disciplines the board will address. Those disciplines includes, affordable housing building, affordable housing lending, affordable housing advocate or a for-profit provider of affordable housing.
Mayor Wayne Poston said the city “really needs help in filling these boards. People just aren’t joining they like used to.”
Anyone interested in serving on a volunteer city board or to find out more information on board availabilities, can contact Hartley at email@example.com.